More than 120,000 visitors descended on Hannover Messe in April, as leaders from the electronics, automotive, industrial, aerospace, and energy sectors came together to educate, inspire and connect for higher performance and improved sustainability.

The theme this year was “Energizing a Sustainable Industry,” and much of that “energy” over the course of the five-day event could be found at the Microsoft stand. The global giant brought its ecosystem of premium partners together to share their innovations and thought leadership from its 1,000 square meter stand to show a game-changing focus on the manufacturing industry.

Blue Yonder was one of those selected partners, invited to present our vision of “Reinventing Supply Chain Management Using Artificial Intelligence (AI).”

The demonstration showcased market-proven expertise in conjunction with the latest technology stack from Microsoft and Snowflake designed to improve decision making, increase revenues and reduce waste.

Attendees acknowledged that, to meet today’s supply chain challenges, leaders must explore this next wave of innovation with an emphasis on advanced supply chain planning. Blue Yonder’s Cognitive Planning suite garnered tremendous interest as a result, with visitors intrigued by the cloud-native, microservices-based SaaS solution. Benefits of enhanced accuracy of data analysis, AI-driven insights, improved decision making, increased supply chain resilience, and the ability to manage more complexity at greater speed and scale, were all noted.  

This Year’s Hot Topic: Generative AI

AI and machine learning (ML) unsurprisingly dominated a lot of the conversation among the 120,000 visitors in Germany. However, the 4,000 companies tasked with showcasing the best of AI and ML made sure to do so through the lenses of climate neutrality, industrial ecosystems, electrification, digitalization, and automation.

From an AI perspective, the discussion has clearly now moved on to generative AI. However, leading solutions in this space are merging all forms of AI to fully leverage end-to-end data, and to deliver valuable supply chain tools off the back of that holistic insight. The role of AI “copilots” – virtual assistants boosting productivity and efficiency in work environments – was a buzzword at this year’s event as a result.

More broadly, the significance of ubiquitous, comprehensive data, and its link to supply chain performance, brought visitors to Blue Yonder’s stand, as companies were exploring how to bring together their growing volume of data in more intuitive and connected fashion.

Many pointed to the shorter planning cycle times they are having to navigate, putting even more emphasis on having near-real-time decision making capabilities, backed up by comprehensive scenario planning. There was a lot of interest from observers, as a result, in the need for greater connectedness across the enterprise, and the combination of planning processes with execution functions.

For example, leading manufacturers plan to merge manufacturing and distribution planning with warehouse management and transportation execution to drive more efficiency and to respond to fickle customer demand during order management. Blue Yonder was identified as an agile enabler of this level of end-to-end workflow and technology convergence, driven by our microservices model.

Visions for the Future

Across the board companies were eager to understand the role of generative AI within the context of the supply chain, with special interest in business benefits rather than just technical prowess.

Numerous conversations were had about how today’s technological advances should help companies achieve higher service levels despite making lower working capital investments – the ultimate goal being to exploit their supply chains to establish higher-margin business outcomes while effectively meeting ambitious sustainability goals.

These informal chats were compounded by more structured supply chain demonstrations where companies like Blue Yonder showcased how they can help companies:

  • Innovate faster while lowering costs
  • Unify their supply chains through one platform
  • Accelerate transformations with composable journeys
  • Achieve end-to-end visibility
  • Rethink decision-making as a whole, with full transparency and end-to-end connectedness

Visitors to the Blue Yonder kiosk were impressed by the commitment to reinventing supply chains with AI, enabled by a best-in-class, end-to-end promise; the ability to synchronize data, workflows and systems for complete orchestration; and the level of AI maturity within these solutions.

Moreover, visitors responded positively to Blue Yonder’s vision for the future, something that was especially important to demonstrate at Hannover Messe. Acquisitions of Doddle and flexis, compounded by a binding agreement to acquire One Network Enterprises, confirmed a dedication to a unified end-to-end supply chain platform and collaboration ecosystem, as Blue Yonder strives to make customers’ future operations equally strong, agile and resilient.

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